IMAGE BY Karston Tannis for The Curl Revolution
If you have thick or dense curly hair, then chances are high you've been asked by a hair stylist whether you would like to thin out your hair. For stylists not particularly familiar with textured or curly hair, pulling out the thinning shears may seem like the fastest and easiest solution. But curly and wavy hair doesn’t really respond to thinning the same way that straight hair does. I chatted with Aylah Mayim, lead stylist and curly hair specialist at Ceremony Salon in Carrboro, North Carolina about different thinning techniques for curly hair. If you’re considering thinning out your curly hair, here is what you should consider first.
Why do you want to thin your hair?
Mayim recommends talking to your stylist about what has driven you to consider thinning out your hair, and be specific. Does your hair just feel unmanageable? Does it feel heavy? Do you feel like your curls are buried or being weighed down? You might not need to thin out your hair at all. A curly hair stylist might talk to you about introducing carefully placed layers to shape your curls or she might suggest an undercut. Another possibility is that she'll recommend a moisturizing and styling product shake-up.
Find a stylist who has mastered several thinning techniques
If you and your stylist decide that thinning is indeed the best way forward, I recommend shopping for a stylist who has mastered more techniques than just the thinning shears! Mayim doesn’t often reach for the thinning shears when working with curly hair because this technique has a tendency to “fuzz out” curly hair, she says. But she does use slicing, carving, and notching techniques to systematically remove weight from the hair, depending on need.
Talk to your stylist about which thinning techniques suit your specific needs
Aylah is specific about which thinning techniques she’ll use to respond to different needs, hair textures, and curl patterns. For instance, she’s more likely to use carving for stronger textures with bigger waves; and she'll use slicing on curly hair that’s weighing itself down.
Embrace your volume and curl pattern, and find a styist who does, too!
I’ve been to my share of stylists who have defaulted to a thinning technique because they’re intimated by the volume of my hair. But I’m not! I embrace the density of my curls and the volume of my hair. I even love the frizz!
Make sure you find a stylist who shares your vision and love for your curly hair, and who wants to use thinning techniques to enhance your curl pattern and flatter your style. Thinning techniques are a powerful tool for emphasizing your curl pattern and hair texture. Try to think of them as curl-boosting instead of curl-minimizing.
If you need more tips for talking to stylists, check out this article about getting what you want from your stylist.